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The “HAIL MARY” Sales Mentality
Blog / Sales Management / Jun 23, 2017 / Posted by Shawn Karol Sandy /

The “HAIL MARY” Sales Mentality

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“They haven’t called me back.”

If you’ve worked around sales much, you know this is probably the most common response to the question “Where are we at with prospect ABC?”

This kind of response lands at my feet with a thud, like a bag of rocks, when given to me by a business owner or seller. There is genuine disappointment in their voice when they say it because in their heart of hearts they really did expect a call back, or at the least desperately wanted some kind of response, from that one single message.

This prompts me to ask such a seller:

“What other methods have you used in trying to reach them? In the voicemail you left, what did you actually say? How many attempts have you made calling? Did you follow up each call with an email message? Are you connected to this prospect on LinkedIn? Do you know anyone else at the company? Is there perhaps someone that could give you an introduction? Who else at the company are you trying to reach?”

And, though most are loath to admit it, they really only reached out once, maybe twice, before they subconsciously admitted defeat. I call this the “Hail Mary Every Time” strategy. Which, like a Hail Mary pass in football, rarely results in the miracle you desperately desire.

Instead of these frantic lobs downfield (if you’ll stick with me here for this football analogy) think of prospecting as an “Offensive Drive” to march the ball downfield to score.

I’ve heard many sellers say they don’t want to be too pushy or obnoxious in their pursuit of a new customer but as I laid out in this previous post, I think that’s a line of BS you’re selling to yourself because you don’t know what else to do, you don’t know what else to say, or you aren’t following the right process.

Here’s how “Marching the Ball Downfield” is better than those “Hail Mary” attempts. By attempting to connect multiple times and in multiple channels –

You stay top of mind. Your prospect becomes keenly aware of your solution and what you can provide for them. They may not need you today, but can certainly recall you or recommend you because you keep showing up.

They’re absorbing your message even if they’re not responding. Perhaps the biggest false assumption is that you’re not getting a response because they’re not seeing or reading your messages. There could be dozens of reasons they haven’t responded. They could be getting ready for a conference. They could be short staffed. They could have 328 other pressing priorities. They could be waiting to see how you persist. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they’re not paying attention. Even if subconsciously, they are noticing how you show up and how you follow through.

You find the right channel to communicate. Maybe email isn’t their thing. Perhaps they never check their office voicemail. Maybe they’re infrequently on LinkedIn. One-channel prospecting is rarely effective. Test your SELLING MIX for each buyer and have quality, value driven messages and sequences that meet your buyer where they choose to listen.

You can nail the message and unlock their value vault. Each buyer has their own unique Customer Currency and it may take several attempts to find the right hot button of need, value, positive business outcome, or reference. Varying your approach to speak through your customers’ filters can help you define the conversational focus. When they respond to a specific message, you know which track to follow through with them.

They get a preview what it’s like to work with you. Every relationship takes a bit of warm up time and some people are quicker to trust than others. A solid prospecting cadence, showing up several times in multiple places with meaningful and creative messages helps your customers understand what it would be like to partner with you. If they give you their time, resources, and attention, they want to know who they’re working with before they jump in. The way you go to market should mirror what customers can expect when they work with you.

When football players spend hours studying other teams and crafting specific offensive (and defensive) strategies around them, it pays off. Invest in learning where your customers are spending their time and develop a deep and specific playbook to help you advance the opportunity. Accept and understand that it will take more than one attempt to reach someone. Which can truly be to your favor if you create a strong and meaningful process with multiple touches.

Stop throwing the “Hail Mary Every Time” and think more about creating your strategic “Offensive Drive” so you can progress customers consistently. Leave those singular lofty lobs to your competitors. They’ll give up after one or two passes and leave the customer open and receptive to you when you keep showing up.

Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!

Pipeliner CRM visually and intuitively empowers sales teams to constantly create that offensive drive. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.

About Author

Shawn founded The Selling Agency after a successful sales career working on building solutions for Small Businesses. Shawn's titles include: Market Director, Sales Director, Marketing Director, Development Director, and Entrepreneur. She focuses on organizational selling and strategies.

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